Two Congressional committee hearings were held recently to examine areas of the food supply chain that need improvements. The House Agriculture Committee Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture held a hearing titled “State of the Beef Supply Chain: Shocks, Recovery, and Rebuilding.” Representatives heard from several agricultural professors and an industry analyst. Some of the issues highlighted during the hearing include the fire at the Tyson plant back in 2019, the impact of COVID-19, and the recent cyber attack of JBS.
“The shocks that our cattle industry have undergone in the last two years have impacted millions of people along the entire supply chain – from the cattle producer to the feeders, processors, retailers, and consumers,” said House Ag Subcommittee Chair Jim Costa. “It is our job on this subcommittee to get to the bottom of the most complex challenges confronting agriculture and to help our farmers and ranchers overcome these challenges.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee also held a hearing titled “Beefing up Competition: Examining America’s Food Supply Chain.” Industry representatives, meatpackers, and grocery supply partners all provided insight to committee members. Issues of consolidation within the livestock industry and the negative impact it is having on the overall food supply chain as well as labor challenges we discussed during the hearing. The committee hearings follow a similar Senate Agriculture Committee hearing regarding anticompetitive practices that was held back in June.
“We welcome the discussion held by the Judiciary Committee to restore a competitive playing field for America’s farmers and ranchers,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a news release. “It was also important for the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture to explore and call attention to the difficult trajectory cattle markets have followed over the last two years. Prices at the grocery store continue to rise while ranchers receive the bare minimum prices for their livestock.”